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Mortgage Job Decline Takes Breather

Mortgage Job Decline Takes Breather457,100 mortgage jobs during July

September 7, 2007


Monthly mortgage employment numbers eased during July — though at nowhere near the pace of June. But a wave of job cuts last month is likely to have a chilling effect on the numbers in the next report.

Last month, 457,100 people were employed in mortgage-related jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The figure was off 2,600 jobs from revised figures from June — when mortgage jobs tumbled by 7,400. The latest month was 43,200 lower than July 2006.

People working in “real estate credit” accounted for 323,400 of July’s numbers, while “mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers” represented 133,700, according to the data.

About 53,000 mortgage brokerages were operating as of last month, according to Tom LaMalfa, managing director for Wholesale Access Mortgage Research & Consulting Inc. He estimated that figure will decrease 20,000 by next summer and fall another 5,000 by 2009.

Such a decline “would bring us back to an equilibrium in the market,” LaMalfa said, “back to the numbers we saw in 2000.”

Total employment figures are likely to deteriorate drastically when the bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, releases August data early next month.

Among massive job cuts last month were 300 eliminated positions at both Delta Financial Corp. and National City Corp.350 positions at Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc.; 351 layoffs at 1st National Bank Holding Co.; over 500 layoffs at Countrywide Financial Corp.; 550 layoffs at CIT Group Inc. — which abandoned the mortgage lending business altogether; 640 layoffs from a consolidation at First NLC Financial Services; 1,200 employees let go from BNC Mortgage LLC — which shut down; 1,500 people who were told their employer Aegis Mortgage Corp. was closing; around 1,600 layoffs at Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. — which closed its retail operations; 1,900 job losses when GreenPoint Mortgage shut down; 5,500 employees who became unemployed when First Magnus Financial Corp. collapsed; and 6,000 lost jobs from the collapse of American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. — though a number of these people found employment elsewhere.

SunTrust Banks Inc. also announced last month it cut 2,400 primarily non-customer contact positions across all lines of business, though it wouldn’t provide with details about how many of those jobs were mortgage related.

In addition, subprime lender EquiFirst Corp., a unit of British bank Barclays Plc, had layoffs, although it is not known how many jobs were lost.

On Aug. 21, Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. announced its data indicated 20,957 financial jobs had been cut since Aug. 1.

The Labor Department’s data indicated 7.1 million people were unemployed during August, with the unemployment rate at 4.6 percent.

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